A Ukrainian Holiday Feast

Twelve dishes are prepared for the Christmas meal. In addition, there are appetizers such as pickled mushrooms and pickled herring. Borshch, fish, holubtsi, beans, and varenky are among the other traditional foods. For dessert there is a dish of stewed dried fruit, and an assortment of pastries. Photo courtesy of the Ukrainian American Community Center of Minneapolis.

Celebrate the New Year.  Again!

January 1 marks the first day of the New Year in most of the world.   That’s according to the Gregorian calendar.    Ask any Ukrainian, and they’ll tell you that New Year’s Eve is January 13, and New Year’s Day is January 14.  That’s according to the Julian calendar, used by the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.  

St. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Belfield, North Dakota

St. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Belfield, North Dakota


The traditional Ukrainian celebration of the New Year is a centuries old feast, Malanka!   It is full of merriment and pranks and food!  The magazine Ukrainian People gives a colorful expose of the holiday festivities, along with its fascinating history, which dates back to before the Ukrainian adoption of Christianity in 988.  Malanka was a mythological figure in folk tales of pagan origin.  


Here’s what the Ukrainian American Society of Texas wrote:

It’s on January 13th – but what is it all about

Malanka is a Ukrainian folk holiday celebrated on January 13th, which is New Year’s Eve in accordance with the Julian calendar. Malanka commemorates the feast day of St. Melania. On this night in Ukraine, carolers traditionally went from house to house playing pranks or acting out a small play (similar to “Vertep”), with a bachelor dressed in women’s clothing leading the troop. Malanka caps off the festivities of the Christmas holidays, and is often the last opportunity for partying before the solemn period of Lent which precedes Easter.

St Johns the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church, Belfield

St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Belfield, North Dakota

Holubtsi/Cabbage Rolls

Holubtsi/Cabbage Rolls, one of the specialties made by Four Corners Cafe and Catering of Fairfield, North Dakota for the Ethnic Christmas Buffet event at the Chateau de Mores Interpretive Center in Medora, North Dakota.

Ukrainian Meatballs!

Meatballs were one of the more popular food entrees at the Ethnic Christmas celebration at the Chateau de Mores Interpretive Center.  The fine Eastern European fare was presented by Four Corners Cafe and Catering of Fairfield, North Dakota, a very popular and well known eatery in the area!

Potato Pyrohy (Perogies)

Potato Pyrohy, one of the specialties made by Four Corners Cafe and Catering of Fairfield, North Dakota for the Ethnic Christmas Buffet event at the Chateau de Mores Interpretive Center in Medora, North Dakot



No celebration is without food!   Check out these recipes for some Ukrainian favorites.


A specialty at Four Corners Cafe and Catering of Fairfield, North Dakota, is Borscht, a soup of eastern European (most often Ukrainian) origin. It was a favorite featured item at the Ethnic Christmas Buffet at the Chateau de Mores Interpretive Center, Medora, North Dakota.


from the cookbook “Steepes of Russia to the Prairies of the Dakotas” by the family members of John and Barbara Hatzenbihler

Soup bone or 1 qt. beef broth
3 qts. water
1 large onion
6 carrots
2 cups peas 
2 cups green beans
1 qt. canned tomatoes
Salt and pepper ot taste 
2 raw beets
4 potatoes 
2 cups corn
3 cups cabbage, cut fine
3 cups fresh swiss shard
1/2 cup rice
I T. mixed pickling spice
1/4 cup sour cream

Boil soup bone and onion in water.  Cut carrots, beets, and potatoes into small pieces.  Add to the soup bone.  Add the rest of the vegetables.  Add salt and pepper.   Put pickling spice in a tea ball and add to the soup.  Simmer 2 hours or more, until meat and vegetables are tender.   Just before serving, add sour cream.   Add more water, if soup is too thick.


Poppy Seed-Filled Pampushky (Ukrainian Doughnuts)   

From Claudia’s Cookbook

Yields 145

Delicious poppy seed-filled doughnuts, perfect for Ukrainian Christmas Eve, or any day of the week.
Prep Time: 3 hr
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 3 hr 30 min
For the Dough:
  1. 3 packages yeast (6-3/4 teaspoons)
  2. 3 cups lukewarm water, divided into 1 cup and 2 cups
  3. 1 cup plus 1 tsp. white sugar, divided
  4. 1 cup 2% milk, scalded
  5. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  6. 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  7. 4 whole eggs
  8. 2 egg yolks
  9. 1 tsp. salt
  10. 10 cups flour
  11. Icing sugar for dusting (optional)
  12. 1.5 – 2 litres canola or vegetable oil, for deep frying.
For Poppy Seed Filling:
  1. 4 cups ground poppy seeds
  2. 2 egg whites
  3. 1/2 cup liquid honey
  4. 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  5. 1 cup white sugar
  1. In a saucepan bring your milk up to 82 °C (180 °F), stirring frequently. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Dissolve one tsp of sugar in 1 cup of lukewarm water. Sprinkle yeast over water mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes, until nice and foamy.
  3. Beat eggs and yolks together in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Add in sugar, salt, 2 cups lukewarm water, scalded milk, melted butter, oil, and foamy yeast mixture. Stir well.
  5. Place 8 cups of your flour in a large bowl, making a well in the center.
  6. Slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour. If your dough is still very sticky and runny, start adding the remaining flour by 1/2 cup increments until dough is soft and not too sticky.
  7. Turn dough out on a floured surface. Knead dough for 10 minutes.
  8. Place dough into a well-greased bowl. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to allow dough to double in size (approximately 1 hour).
  9. Punch the dough down, cover and let it rise again until it has doubled in size, again about 1 hour. While your dough is rising, you can make your filling.
For Poppy Seed Filling:
  1. In a small bowl, add your egg whites, sugar, honey and cinnamon to your ground poppy seeds. Mix well and set aside.
To Assemble:
  1. Roll out your dough to 1/4 inch in thickness.
  2. Cut out dough using a round cookie cutter, about a 2 or 3 inches in diameter (you can make them larger, but we prefer bite-sized)
  3. Place 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center of the dough. Be very careful not to get any of the filling along the edges as it may not seal properly.
  4. Fold one half of the dough over the filling and pinch the edges together. Round out the edges until you have the shape of a ball.
  5. Place dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet. Cover with a towel and let stand 1 hour to rise again. They should almost double in size.
  6. Using a deep fryer or a large pot and thermometer, heat canola oil between 350-360°F.
  7. Place dough in hot oil and deep fry until all sides are light golden brown, about 1 minute.
  8. Remove Pampushky from the oil with a slotted spoon.
  9. Place on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and allow to cool completely.
  10. You can dust Pampushky with icing sugar if you desire (optional).
  11. Dish it up and serve to your friends and family on Christmas Eve, or any day you’d like!
  1. These should be eaten within 1-3 days of making. They also freeze very well.


Here’s how to see the real badlands in the winter!  Hike Off the Beaten Path!

Join us in our explorations and adventures on Facebook, Beautiful Badlands ND.

Enjoy the best Ukrainian food around, and meet some mighty friendly people, too.   Stop by Four Corners Cafe & Catering in Fairfield, ND.   You’ll find it on the eastern edge of the badlands, right on Highway 85 between Grassy Butte and Belfield.   

Find hundreds of photos of the Badlands and Grasslands of western North Dakota and eastern Montana here:   www.Mykuhls.com

Beautiful Badlands Ad Mykuhls


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